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What is holistic health care?

Holistic health care revolves around a notion of totality. The

goal of holistic care is to meet not only the patient’s physical
needs but also his social, spiritual, and emotional needs.
A new dimension
Holistic care addresses all dimensions of a person,
• physical
• emotional
• social
• spiritual.
Only by considering these dimensions can the health care
team provide high-quality holistic care. You should strive to
provide holistic care to all emergency patients, even if their
physical needs seem more pressing than other needs.

Holistic care issues

The road to delivering the best holistic care is strewn with various
issues, including:
• patient and family issues
• cognitive issues
• ethics issues.
Patient and family issues
A family is a group of two or more persons who possibly live
together in the same household, perform certain interrelated
social tasks, and share an emotional bond. Families can
profoundly influence the individuals within them.
Family ties
A family is a dynamic system. During stress-free times,
this system tends to maintain homeostasis, meaning
that it exists in a stable state of harmony and balance. However, when a crisis sends one family
member into the emergency department (ED),
the rest may feel a tremendous strain and family homeostasis is thrown off. The major effects
of such imbalances are:
• increased stress levels
• reorganization of family roles.
Slipping on emotional turmoil
The emergency patient’s condition may change rapidly (within
minutes or hours); the result of such physiologic instability
is emotional turmoil for the family. Family members may use
whatever coping mechanisms they have, such as seeking support
from friends or clergy. The longer the patient remains in the ED,
however, the more stress increases for the patient and his family.
Circle out of round
When sudden critical illness or injury disrupts the family circle,
a patient can no longer fulfill certain role responsibilities. Such
roles are typically:
• financial (if the patient is a major contributor to the family’s
monetary stability)
• social (if the patient fills such roles as spouse, parent, mediator,
or disciplinarian).